Skip to main content

McDougal Coatee

Curated Submission
1813 - 1814
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
80 x 33
Materials & techniques
Niagara Historical Society and Museum 972.902
This humble garment was once worn by Daniel McDougal, a distinguished veteran officer who served in the War of 1812 and settled in Niagara-on-the-Lake after the war. Born in Scotland, McDougal moved to Canada with his parents in 1782 at the age of four. When war broke out in 1812, McDougal joined a militia unit in Glengarry County and took part in several battles, including the bloody Battle of Lundy’s Lane on July 25, 1814.
This was the coat McDougal was wearing on the night when he was officially reported “mortally wounded.” He recovered, but he suffered from the effects of at least seven wounds and a lead musket ball that remained in his body for the rest of his life. The coat appears to show some damage from that fateful battle. The design is not in accordance with later militia uniform coats. To denote his lieutenant’s rank, McDougal wore a gold epaulet with thin gold fringes on the right shoulder only. On June 1, 1814, a gold lace edging was ordered; it was added to the cuffs and collars on the officers’ coatees of the Upper Canada Militia.
Lieutenant McDougal’s coat was most likely made locally sometime between the date of his first commission in March 1813 and before the summer of 1814. Adding gold edging lace at the collar and cuffs was not an urgent matter for many officers in the field, and Lieutenant McDougal’s coatee remained plain. The cuffs, quite small and without buttons, are the only exception to this otherwise regulation coatee. McDougal was in no shape to resume his duties for many months after the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, and he was granted a small pension in recognition of his many wounds. As a result, the coatee, apart from its cuffs, remained much the same as it was when he wore it into battle. This uniform is rare because it was made locally and survived largely unaltered. It is a fitting reminder of the War of 1812 and of the egalitarian nature of military rank during that period. McDougal was lucky to have survived after being so severely wounded, as medicine was rather crude at the time. He went on to live an active life in the town of Niagara.
Submit a related artifact
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Pinterest Email More...

Main sponsors

  • Logo of the Imperial Oil Foundation with accompanying characteristic oval 'Esso' symbol.

Institutional partners